Spring 2009 Issue
Happy Birthday, Bucs!
Barry University Athletics celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and what a quarter century it has been.
From the women’s and men’s soccer teams, which both posted winning records that first year, to the men’s golf team, which captured the program’s seventh national championship in 2007, to the men’s tennis team currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, the program and its 12 athletic teams have celebrated some astounding victories and memorable milestones over the years.
In 1988-89, the Bucs joined the Sunshine State Conference, already one of the top NCAA Division II circuits and, in 20 years as a member of the league, they have captured 36 conference titles.
Along the way, the Buccaneers have claimed the SSC Mayor’s Cup (signifying the top program in the conference) five times on the women’s side and once on the men’s.
Since the men’s soccer team earned the first NCAA Tournament bid in 1985, the Bucs have been to the big dance 104 times, reaching the final site 54 times, including their seven titles. From 1995-96 to 2006-07, the Bucs finished in the top 50 in the nation in the NACDA Director’s Cup, earning the top spot for a private institution twice (3rd place in 1998-99 and 11th in 2001-02).
Individually, the Buccaneers have also earned many honors, producing 176 All-Americans and 180 Scholar All-Americans in the first 24 years.
Women’s soccer players Kyllene Carter ’91 and Heather Jaeger ’94, and softball pitcher Geralyn Elam ’03 were named national players of the year and Buccaneer coaches have been named national coach of the year six times.
From Wei Liu ’95 (volleyball 1993) to Bobby Hernandez (baseball 2008) to Amber Jack (softball 2008), 38 Buccaneers have been named player of the year in the Sunshine State Conference.
On a national level, the Bucs are one of the most decorated groups in all of Division II. We are the only institution to have two Walter Byers Scholarship winners, one in 1997 (Marya Moruseiwicz ’96) and one in 2000 (Anna Halbergson ’00). We produced NCAA Post-graduate Scholarship recipients in 1990 (Bill Reifsnider ’92 – baseball), 2000 (Cindy Yuan ’01 – volleyball), 2004 (Victoria Courmes ’06 - tennis) and 2008 (Patrick Rittenauer ’09 - tennis).
During this time we’ve also had two NACDA post-graduate scholarship winners – one in 1995-96 (Laurie Wallace ’97 - athletic training) and another in 2000-01 (Darcy Starke ’03 - athletic training). In 1990, Bill Reifsnider ’92 was named a Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete for baseball; Christian Witt MS’01, MBA ’02 was named an Academic All-American of the Year in 2000 for tennis; and six of our athletes have been named NCAA Woman of the Year finalists, the second-most of any institution (Greta Trotman ’06 in 2006; Melissa Lehman ’05 in 2005; Victoria Courmes ’03 in 2003; Anna Hallbergson ’01 in 2000; Janina Morusiewicz ’98 in 1998; and Marya Morusiewicz ’96 in 1996).
Academically, the Bucs have risen steadily over the last few years, with 66.8 percent of the student-athletes earning a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the fall of 2006. They tied the mark again this past fall as 10 of the 12 teams topped 3.0; led by the softball team which produced a 3.604 mark.
The Buccaneer model, with athletics under the umbrella of an academic division, has also become a popular one among college athletics programs, with a number of schools including NCAA Division I Vanderbilt University adopting it.